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New Jersey suspect in army attack plot refused bail
May 11, 2007 / 1:31 PM / 10 years ago

New Jersey suspect in army attack plot refused bail

<p>A van carrying six Islamic defendants rolls into the federal courthouse facility in Camden, New Jersey May 11, 2007. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer</p>

CAMDEN, New Jersey (Reuters) - A man accused with five others of plotting to attack a U.S. Army base at Fort Dix in New Jersey was refused bail on Friday and remanded in custody with the rest of the group.

Mohamad Shnewer, 22, a U.S. citizen born in Jordan, was denied bail by Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider after prosecutors argued there was a risk he would flee and accused him of advocating violence and ordering automatic firearms for the suspected plot.

The six Muslim men, who are not believed to have links to foreign organizations, had amassed semi-automatic assault rifles, shotguns and handguns while trying to acquire more destructive weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades, federal authorities said after arresting the men on Monday.

Two FBI informers had infiltrated the group, officials said.

The other five suspects appeared in court but did not apply for bail. A bail application for Yugoslav-born U.S. resident Agron Abdullahu, who is charged with aiding and abetting the weapons acquisition, will be heard on May 17.

Shnewer; Eljvir, Dritan and Shain Duka, three Yugoslav-born brothers who were illegal aliens; and Turkish-born U.S. resident Serdar Tatar are facing charges of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix.

Shnewer’s attorney, Rocco Cipparone, said his client -- the youngest of the group -- was “distraught,” but was trying to “keep up a brave face with his family.”

Shnewer had offered to undergo 24-hour house arrest at his parents’ home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and provide the equity of four homes worth about $600,000 as collateral if granted bail.

U.S. marshals led the suspects -- aged 22 to 28 -- one by one into the courtroom. They waved to family members in the public benches, some of whom wept and waved back.

Troy Archie, representing Eljvir Duka, told the court his client had been unable to contact his family since his arrest and was denied access to a Koran.

Prosecutors allege the suspects conducted surveillance of Fort Dix and other U.S. military installations in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, plotting attacks inspired by an international call for holy war against the West.

They chose Fort Dix as a target because one suspect knew it well from delivering pizza to the base, officials said.

Fort Dix, about 40 miles east of Philadelphia, is used to train reservists from all branches of the military, many of whom are preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

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